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Emma Gannon

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How Burberry Stole the (Fashion) Show

Posted: 22/09/2011 17:49

Fashion does not sit still for five minutes. This makes it a joy to watch, but a nightmare to keep up with. I've always been that person who would save up just enough money to buy something stylish (usually confirmed by my friend Grace who works undercover for the Fashion Police), only to find out that by the time I actually got round to buying the bloody thing, it has rapidly turned from hot, to definitely not. How on earth are we supposed to keep up with the latest trends that insist on perpetually updating themselves?

Well, Twitter, of course.

It is London Fashion Week. I am on Twitter (as per usual) and #Burberry is trending at no.2 on the homepage. Immediately, I am drawn to see what it is they are doing which is causing such a online stir. Burberry's name is being hash-tagged and '@ mentioned' left right and centre, and all I know is I want to be a part of it.

Burberry is no stranger to technology. Back in April, I was wowed when Burberry used digitally projected models to showcase an opening night show in Beijing. Burberry's entire cast was holographic, encouraging Chinese fans to visit their high-tec stores allowing iPad users first dibs on the full collection - you can read all about this in a previous Huffington Post article here. I was expecting a selection of tweets about the new suede alligator clutch bag, or perhaps showbiz journalists commenting on the fact Kanye West was sitting on the front row and for the first time ever, not wearing sunglasses.

However, it soon transpired that Burberry was in fact stealing the social media show. Here's how:

Fashion for everybody
We all know fashion is elitist. But the one thing Burberry definitely succeeded in doing this year was reminding people that actually, anyone and everyone can join the party. London Fashion Week is not something I would go out of my way to attend, but like many people out there, I still wanted to feel involved. Rachel Bremer, Twitter's European communications director, quoted this week that "brands like Burberry will be using [Twitter] to help people all over the world feel like they're sitting on the front row." This is exactly it. Successful fashion brands make their customers feel like a million dollars when slipping into that luxury garment. Instantly, we feel as if we have transformed into a newer, better version of ourselves and have the power to achieve anything. A good fashion brand offers something indescribably life-changing in that fitting room which is a private connection between the brand and the person. By partnering with Twitter and creating Tweetwalk, Burberry made their fans feel special by giving them a first hand look-see at the line up before it made it's way down the catwalk.

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Live streaming the show was a very social move. Many fashion brands try so hard to capitalise on being mysterious and restrictive when in fact they only end up eliminating a large proportion of their fanbase. Burberry, however, invited everyone to the party. By live streaming the show they reminded us that they are a global brand. Fans all around the world were able to tune in with the show, and real-time live streaming was Burberry's way of making the experience available to all.

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Don't be afraid to use different tools
Burberry do not shy away from mixing art with their fashion. Just like their launch of Burberry Acoustic, they aim to get on a level with what young people actually enjoy, making a connection between the label and the lifestyle. This is what made the Burberry Instagram account so interesting to follow. It wasn't a brand trying to deliver something overly innovative, it was essentially just a cool photographer using a fun app that many were already familiar with. As consumers, we are so used to seeing photos of models that have been edited, air-brushed or generally being made to feel as if it is 'us' and 'them'. This is why using Instagram worked. Instagram reminds me of times I have snapped real-life pictures with my friends, and this is why seeing the photos is this familiar visual way was nice to see. Plus, it had the behind-the-scenes aspect to it, by seeing what was going on backstage, it brought the brand to life.

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More Burberry Instagram images here.

Make your fans want to pass something on
Before I had time to stumble across this myself, a colleague of mine had already popped a note in my inbox telling me I simply had to check out the Burberry Facebook page where I could sign up for a free sample of Burberry Body. We all know Burberry doesn't come for free, so I was ready to beat people to it. Burberry now boasts over 8 million fans on their Facebook page which includes backstage footage, links to the shows, acoustic sessions, past tweets, as well as offering product exclusivity.

What Burberry executed this week is a brilliant example of a fashion brand using multiple social channels to promote a central idea and engage with consumers on a fun and informal level. No one wants to be bored by fashion: we just want to marvel at the luxury, become inspired and live the dream with the brand. Both online and real life.

 

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